I watched the first half of the Browns game today, and they sucked — thoroughly and completely. With the score 27-3 in favor of the hated Steelers, the cause was hopeless. Rather than waste the day watching a disaster, ranting incoherently at the TV set, I decided to do something else. So, Kish and I ran an errand.
Of course, it wasn’t that simple. I got a tantalizing text from Russell about how the Browns coaching staff had done some good work at halftime. Hmmm. Could the Browns at least be making a credible showing in the second half? We were on the road, so I turned on the radio, and heard that the Browns had closed the gap to 27-17. We ran our errand, and when I came out the score was 27-20. Then, as we pulled in to the driveway, the Browns tied it at 27, and Russell sent another text: “You watching this?”
And that was the decision point, right there. Watch, and hope? Or don’t watch, fearing that I would jinx the comeback? I mentally flipped a coin and decided to watch. Of course I did! The evil demons of sports knew I would. They knew I would invest my soul in hoping for a win, and the chances for tormenting me would be virtually endless. So once I sat in the chair, the Browns offense basically ground to a halt, and things started to go wrong. A missed assignment on a fake punt. A chance to down the ball on the 1 that was muffed. A last series that saw the Browns lose yards and hand the Steelers great field position. And then, inevitably, some completions and a game-winning field goal for the Steelers as time ran out, and a final, parting shot of a grinning Ben Roethlisberger.
What could be more cruel? I wouldn’t have felt more violated if I’d been kicked in the crotch by an angry dwarf. So, after vowing that I wouldn’t lose my temper, with my insides scourged once again by the results of a game, I raged and cursed and frightened the dogs. And the demons smiled, knowing that they had done a good day’s work . . . again.